You are not your own; you were bought at a price.
O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God-through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.
There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit... For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.
I die daily.
He must increase, but I must decrease.
Undoubtedly, 'Generation Me' fever has spread like an epidemic through the American church. With the rise of media came the rise of narcissism. We faced a three-front assault: pretentious programs, greedy advertisers and selfish stars.
Unprotected ears, eyes and hearts got hit with rapid-fire messages of narcissism. Because the father of lies dresses up nicely, his messengers look good. Many Christians began to believe that joy comes from the king of bling, rather than from the King of kings.
Most of us chose to wear a dainty cross--rather than carry a heavy one.
Some of our biggest churches went primetime--broadcasting a culture of affluence. I call it 'Lifestyles of rich and famous Christians.' But is that how Jesus lived? Aren't we supposed to copy Him? I believe talking His talk without walking His walk is more harmful to our world than Al Qaeda.
Truly, all of us are tempted. We bit from an apple disguised as a phone and welcomed a goddess named Siri.*
The apostle Paul gives the antidote for narcissism in Romans, chapters 7 and 8. This rule-following Pharisee turned Christ-following evangelist shared the temptations and torments God's people face--when we know what is right but do what is wrong.
The cure? Christ and self-control. Because a faith walk requires exercise. Exercise requires discipline. Discipline requires disciples. These words are linked and here's how: disciples of Christ must become disciplined like soldiers, because we are soldiers of Jesus Christ.
And from Him, our calling cards are not bullets, but blessings:
'The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ's have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires' (Galatians 5:22-24).
Only through the daily discipline of dying to self(ishness) is narcissism put in its place, which is under our feet. Therein, Christ and self-control carry the cure for 'I, me, my' fever.
To Be Continued...
*I do not condemn any company or church in specific, but a culture of poor witness in general. In America followers of Christ are called to lead the world through the media we export by examples of excellence--as reflections of Christ. Only God can show us how to be in this world, but not of it. Miraculously, Jesus leads His stars on this narrow path up an airwave and onto a screen.
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the Personal Pronouns series.